What Does Pho Taste Like?

On the global marketplace, Asian culture and cuisine are becoming more and more popular – particularly in the west, where there has long since been a love affair with eastern food and traditions. 

With regards to the food, one particular source of popularity has been soups – such as pho. But what exactly is pho, and what does it taste like? 

What Does Pho Taste Like

What Is Pho? 

Pho is a popular Vietnamese soup dish consisting of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat – usually beef and chicken.

The dish is incredibly popular in Vietnam, where it is served as a home cooked meal in houses, as on the go snacks at street stalls, and in countless restaurants throughout the country. 

What’s more, its popularity has soared in recent years, aided by the internet and the increase in travel and tourism to the country.

As a result, pho is widely considered to be Vietnam’s national dish, and one that has much history and tradition behind it. 

When Was Pho Created? 

Like many traditional dishes from all around the world, no one is really sure when it was created – although many historians speculate that it likely originated from similar noodle dishes already consumed in the region. 

Villagers from the village of Van Cu however have stated that they were eating pho long before the French colonial period (which ended in 1947), placing the suspected date of creation somewhere between 1900 and 1907, although experts suspect it has existed for far longer. 

Many think this purely refers to the modern iteration of pho, which has been tracked down to having been created in Hanoi around this period. 

How Did Pho Become So Popular? 

Many put the beginning of the global pho trend as a product of the Vietnam war, where countless western veterans regularly sampled the local food while on leave in the surrounding regions. 

When these people returned to their home country following the end of the war, they most likely brought many facets of the cooking they witnessed with them. 

This could also be attributed to Vietnamese immigrants, who emigrated to the United States in the years following the ceasefire. 

As mentioned above, this cult following became more pronounced and widespread with the advent of the internet – an occurrence that coincided with the boom of eastern culture in the western world, leading to the widespread adaptation of Asian cuisine for a western audience. 

What Does Pho Taste Like? 

As pho is largely made with chicken or beef stock (to make the broth), pho generally tastes like either of those – albeit with hints of ginger, basil, or bean sprouts. 

This gives the dish a very savory, comforting flavor that makes it such a favorite dish for many – following on with the rich history of such dishes in Vietnam and the surrounding countries.

Is Pho Healthy? 

One thing that has made pho so enduring throughout the years – aside from the great taste – is that it is considered to be one of the healthiest dishes of its kind, at least when it has been made naturally. 

This is due to the lack of saturated fats, processed ingredients, or additives – relying purely on the natural flavors of natural ingredients to create its iconic flavor palette. 

However, one thing that experts warn is that, depending on how it is made and what is added, the calories can soon mount up – which to those who are concerned with weight gain, or who are otherwise counting their calories, could cause unwanted problems. 

Does Pho Have Any Health Benefits? 

As with many dishes that originated from this part of the world, there are many associated health benefits – at least with regards to the individual ingredients used to make it. 

Rich In Protein

Firstly, pho is rich in protein, making it very good for muscle development, as well as keeping you full and alert for longer periods of time. 

High levels of protein are also beneficial for recovering from injuries, and preventing the onset of illness. 

However, nutritionists say that, to get the most protein, people should opt for leaner cuts of pork, beef, chicken, or fish, instead of fattier cuts – which as their name suggests, contain higher fat contents. 

Good For Illness

Doctors have also sighted pho as being good for colds, flus, and seasonal illnesses – primarily due to the stodginess of the noodles, the natural abilities of the mixed spices, and the health benefits of the broth and the meat. 

What Does Pho Taste Like (1)

Good For Immune System

When prepared correctly, experts say that pho can be really good for the immune system – especially with plenty of vegetables, which are low in calories and high in minerals, vitamins, and filling fiber. 

This will keep you full for longer, as well as providing your body with the building blocks it needs to become stronger and fight off disease and illnesses more effectively. 

Are There Any Downsides? 

However, there are some notable downsides to pho, which experts say people should be wary of. 

High Calorie Count

With the meat and the stock, the calorie count of pho can quickly get close to the 1000 calories mark – meaning those with limited diets or food intakes per day can unwittingly spend much of their allowance on this meal. 

This is why leaner portions of meat are recommended, as they provide the best sources of protein, the least fat, and a more controlled calorie content. 

High In Sodium

The most prominent downside is that pho is high in sodium – something that is not good for the arteries and the blood pressure. 

Salt causes the arteries to become clogged, which in turn heightens the blood pressure, which can then result in strokes, heart attacks, and chest pains. 

This is why controlling the salt content of your recipe is vital – especially if you are someone who regularly consumes the dish several times per week. 

Potential For Saturated Fat

For those who enjoy fatty meat in their pho, you could be putting yourself in line for high cholesterol – due to the high saturated fat levels in fatty cuts of meat. 

By sticking to leaner, smaller cuts of meat, you can minimize the amount of saturated fat, boost the levels of protein, and have a much more enjoyable meal all round. 

How To Keep Pho Healthy

If you are looking to make your pho dish as healthy as possible, there are several tips and tricks you can use to keep it in line. 

Brown Rice Noodles

One of the best ways is to forgo white rich noodles, as these are high in starch and carbohydrates.

By making the switch to brown rice noodles, you are not only lowering the aforementioned components, but you are also maximizing the amount of vitamins and minerals you are getting per meal. 

Low Sodium Stock

Low sodium stock is a great way to have the flavor of beef or chicken stock without the high salt levels – which as we have mentioned can cause all manner of health problems if left unchecked. 

By switching to low sodium stock, you can enjoy your favorite dish and not even tell the difference. 

Leaner Cuts

To reiterate, having leaner cuts of meat is also a good way to keep your dish healthy – not to mention more beneficial from a dietary perspective. 

Smaller Portions

One way to keep pho healthier is to have smaller portions – or indeed to just have it less often.

While this is not always an option for some people, especially if they live in rural Vietnam, it can have a distinct impact on your health (for the better). 

Home Cooking

Of course, the best way to make any dish healthier is to make it with fresh, natural ingredients, and to avoid store bought products that are usually full of additives. 

Final Thoughts

And there we have it, everything you need to know about pho, what it is, where it comes from, and what it actually tastes like!

It’s certainly true that, on the global marketplace, Asian culture and cuisine are becoming more and more popular – facilitated by the internet and more widespread world travel.

Thankfully, it seems like this trend is not one that is going to change anytime soon, giving us access to any number of beautiful dishes that we otherwise would not have had proper access to. 

What Does Pho Taste Like?

Recipe by AubreyCourse: Taste Like


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Want to know what pho tastes like? Check out this handy guide for everything you need to know!


  • Pho

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  • Depending on the ingredients used, the cooking method, and the type of dish, the taste of the food can vary greatly.
  • Make sure to select a recipe that will elevate the food’s original flavor, and enjoy experimenting with different recipes!

Recipe Video

https://youtu.be/-tiWrg20KSQVideo can’t be loaded because JavaScript is disabled: What does PHO taste like? with Mrs. Drops (https://youtu.be/-tiWrg20KSQ)
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